Swindell Takes Lone Star Classic Preliminary By Richard Day BAYTOWN, TX (October 20) -- Managing lapped traffic can be just as important as having a fast race car. Sammy Swindell proved that...
Swindell Takes Lone Star Classic Preliminary
By Richard Day
BAYTOWN, TX (October 20) -- Managing lapped traffic can be just as important as having a fast race car. Sammy Swindell proved that Friday while winning the Preliminary Feature in the Lone Star Classic at Houston Raceway Park. "The CHANNELLOCK car was working good in lots of different parts of the track tonight," Swindell said. "We got held up a little bit there when we first got into traffic and I made a couple of mistakes as far as where I caught the (lapped) cars, but then we got that (ninth-lap) caution flag and it gave us an open track again. We had the same thing happen there at the end and got held up a little, but we were able to hang on." Swindell held off a late charge by defending Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series champion Mark Kinser for his ninth Preliminary Feature victory of the season. The $5,000 victory pushed Sammy to within five points of Kinser for second place in the standings. Swindell, the fifth-fastest qualifier in the 44-car field, won the First NAPA AUTO PARTS Heat Race. The three-time series champion earned the right to start the 20-lap feature outside the second row by following Jac Haudenschild, Stevie Smith and Tim Shaffer across the finish line in the CHANNELLOCK Dash. Smith, the Preliminary Feature winner in the Texas Shootout at Houston Raceway Park April 7th, raced around Haudenschild in the fourth corner to take the lead as the green flag fell in the evening's main event. Kinser, who started outside the fifth row, raced into fourth place during the first 4 1/2 laps. He steered the #5M Mopar Maxim into the low groove exiting turn two to pass Shaffer early in the third lap and passed World of Outlaws Gumout Series champion Craig Dollansky with a similar move entering the first corner the next time around. Mark passed Dean Jacobs between turns one and two early in lap five. Smith was half a second ahead of Haudenschild when he entered lapped traffic one lap later. Swindell drove his #1 CHANNELLOCK Stealth past "The Wild Child" on the front straightaway early in the eighth lap. A blown engine in Jimmy Vasser's #V12 Wirtgen America Maxim caused Greg Hodnett to stop in turn four late in lap nine. The caution tightened the field and took the leaders out of lapped traffic. Swindell chased Smith for 2 1/4 laps before taking the lead deep in the second corner. Kinser used a similar move to pass Haudenschild for third place one lap later. Swindell was 1.4 seconds ahead of Smith when he caught the backmarkers again midway through the 15th lap. Mark passed Smith with an inside move in turn four late in lap 17 and cut Sammy's advantage in half within a lap. Kinser tried to execute a last-lap pass between turns three and four, but Swindell was .1 second ahead at the checkered flag. "This track's been really good," Sammy said. "It's been two or three lanes wide, and it makes it nice to be able to try some different lines when you get into traffic or want to try to catch up to someone. We can pay a little more attention to the track tomorrow night, and just concentrate on the dash and the main. I think we'll be tough to beat here tomorrow too." Smith and Haudenschild earned the second-row starting positions in Saturday's CHANNELLOCK Dash by finishing third and fourth. Jacobs' fifth-place finish tied his career best in a Preliminary Feature. Dollansky finished sixth, ahead of Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series points leader Steve Kinser, 18th-starting Randy Hannagan, Shaffer and Danny Wood. Despite passing nine cars in the "B" Feature, Johnny Herrera had to use a provisional to start the evening's main event. He raced into 15th place from outside the 13th row in the Preliminary Feature. The Beef Packers team battled engine problems throughout the program. Mark Ellis and his crew changed power plants following the First NAPA AUTO PARTS Heat Race, but Danny Lasoski still finished eighth in the "B" Feature. "The Dude" took a provisional and passed eight cars to finish 17th in the Preliminary Feature. Joey Saldana received his 10th Vivarin Fast-Time Award of the year for pacing the qualifying session with a 98.182-m.p.h. lap around the semi-banked, 3/8-mile oval. WoO